England and Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley has officially announced his retirement from professional rugby following his failure to properly recover from a new injury. The former England captain, who is 33 years old, has not played a match since December last year, and was not able to join his team for the World Cup final. Hartley won a total of 87 Test caps, and played 251 times for Northampton over 14 seasons throughout his career.
Talking about his retirement, the former coach stated that the last few months had been difficult for him both mentally and physically, saying that he had to come to terms with the fact that he would no longer be able to compete at a professional level. He added that he was nevertheless proud of the journey that he had made, with both England and the Saints; but that it was now the right time to hang up his boots.
Jason Leonard is the only other played that has played more for England than Hartley, who had skippered them to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2016, and then once again the Six Nations title a year later. Additionally, Hartley had guided the Red Rose to series victories in both Argentina and Australia during 2018 and 2016 respectively. He had never been capped by British & Irish Lions, and a red card from his loss at the 2013 Premiership final meant that he lost a place on the summer tour in Australia.
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